Check it Out! – TLBX Staff Picks for October 2021

Here’s what the staff of Teh Lunchbox Publications has been checking out to celebrate last month with thrills and chills!

Editor in Chief’s Pick: Pumpkin Night

I wasn’t into horror films back when I was a kid, because they gave me nightmares. However, after growing up, I realized I enjoy reading horror manga more.

When this month started, I wanted to get into some horror manga that wasn’t written and drawn by Junji Ito (Gyo, Tomie). After an hour or so of looking through the genre, I came across one called Pumpkin Night, by Masaya Hokazono and Seima Taniguchi.

The story follows Naoko Kirino, a student who escaped a mental hospital after killing dozens of doctors and patients. Her main goal is to exact revenge on those who have given her a disfigured face, which she covers up with a pumpkin head. The way Naoko takes out her victims can be pretty gruesome, as in some cases she tortures them before sending them off to the afterlife. For example, the first victim got their eyes taken out with a sharp pumpkin scoop before being ran over by a truck. Brutal.

If you’re a huge fan of slasher movies such as John Carpenter’s 1978 film, Halloween or Sean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th, then this manga series is for you. Oh, did I also mention that this is pretty much an rated M for mature audiences manga?

– Greg M. “TehR3M1X” (Founder/CEO/Editor in Chief)

Editor’s Pick: Netflix’s Ratched

While I appreciate all seasons of the year (and favor Winter), Fall holds a special place. As we watch the leaves fall, increase our intake of pumpkin spice, and hear the whispers of the spaces beyond us, let’s dive into the cerebral world of my recommendation, Ratched.

Netflix’s Ratched released back in Fall 2020 centers around the titular character, Nurse Mildred Ratched, played by Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story, Bird Box.) It tells the story behind the woman who is the antagonist of the 1975 comedy One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest…with a twist.

The show is set in the late 1940s to early 1950s California and centers around the ascent of Ratched to Head Nurse at Dr. Hanover’s mental hospital, Lucia. The subplot centers around the political struggle involving the fate of Edmund Tolleson, Ratched’s foster brother and murderer, who is being held at Lucia.

The show’s warm color pallet and use of iconic fashion thinly veil secrets, torture, murder, and romance. It serves to increase our discomfort with the subject matter. The show’s soundtrack is eerie and guides you through the waves of the unfolding plot. The show’s bonus is that it even allows space for many of its female characters to tell their stories.

Through all this we begin to wonder, as Mildred manipulates her way to her goals, is she really the worst? Watch to find out! Ratched is still available for Netflix subscribers.

– Denise G. “DehlinaR” (Editor)

Lead Artist’s Pick: House of Velez

I’m a huge fan of horror movies, TV shows, and indie horror games. I don’t think I’ve ever seen or played a game that uses gore as the selling point in a while. The House of Velez is a side-scrolling PC horror game made by game developer Dark Room Games. This game was infamous for its death scene compilations on YouTube in 2020.

You play as Lily Velez, a reporter who visits her childhood home and soon discovers something’s VERY wrong with your childhood home. The developer slowly introduces the player to the game’s mechanics and death sequences – and let me tell you, every death sequence is thought out and animated differently and uniquely every time you play.

The monster designs are also extremely creepy. Just like the Silent Hill series, many of the monsters and event areas the protagonist must go through are symbolic of the past and the trauma the main character has gone through.

The overbearing gore in the game would be a deal breaker for many gamers, so if you do pick this game up on steam, I highly recommend you read the developer notes and play with caution.

House of Velez is a very unnerving, unforgettable horror game, and I hope you guys consider picking it up to support the developer! Part 1 and Part 2 are currently available on Steam for $3.99 each.

– Gaylene A. “Paranormiac” (Lead Art Director)

Content Creator’s Pick: Psychonauts

When it comes to video games, I have a habit of determining my desire to play a game based on its art. Based on screenshots from Psychonauts available on its store page on Steam, I was originally uninterested. However, I decided to give the game a try after a friend of mine gifted it to me.  

I was surprised. The overall art style of Psychonauts turned out to be one of its charms. Cut scenes placed throughout the game appealed to the ’90s kid in me that used to watch cartoons on Nickelodeon while eating a bowl of Froot Loops. Aside from the rush of nostalgia, the story behind Psychonauts is interesting.

The game is played from the perspective of a boy named Razputin Aquato. Razputin, also known as Raz, is in a league of his own. Having snuck into a training facility for future Psychonauts, government agents gifted with psychic abilities, it is made clear that Raz’s psychic abilities are more advanced than those of his peers.

Overall, the game is fun and a treat for ’90s kids. Due to some of the games’ darker themes (emotional baggage, infidelity, and brains?!), the game is rated T for Teen. Psychonauts is available on both Steam and on the Playstation Store!

– Lori C. “Starry Strawberries” (Content Creator)

Was there anything that caught your attention last month? Do you have any recommendations? Let us know in the comments below!

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